By Anne Rieger
What a week. The first week of college is always exciting, no matter what year or what course you are in. There are always new faces and everything is unknown territory.
NUI Galway lifted that to a whole new level for me. Picking my courses on my own, making sure they don’t clash on my timetable, finding out what I need and finding the rooms in this short amount of time has been so challenging that I feel like I could really use a semester break, or another fresher’s week. Just to find your timetable as an international student seems to require a PhD.
In Germany, everything is served to you on a little silver platter, that is, a computer programme that calculates your timetable automatically to make sure you know which courses you are in. NUI Galway seems to have its very own system. Running here for a signature, going there for an enquiry. I’m pretty sure they make it so complicated to make sure Internationals get to know the campus.
Speaking of the campus, another thing I noticed while spending my first week in the university is that you can find everything on site. From a shop, a bar, several restaurants and even a hairdresser. Which honestly, I think is the best thing ever, we just don’t really get haircuts in my home university. I’m still wondering how this situation goes down, my timetable is so packed that I don’t know when I’ll have spare time for a NUI Galway haircut!
This lack of time is mostly down to the one thing that, according to some people, makes Irish and British universities worthwhile – societies and clubs.
I was stunned by the amount of societies and I just really want to join all of them, but 126 seems a bit time consuming. Also: how amazing is the fact that there is an archery club or one that goes surfing on the weekends? As you might have realised by now, I’ve never encountered such a wide variety of activities for students. German universities seem to be purely and utterly for studying, hence German efficiency.
If we want to do sports we go to the university – owned gym, which is just 10 minutes away on a bike, five on a shuttle bus and 15 up a mountain. If we want to join a society and follow our interests… I don’t even know how to do that in Germany. This is the difference.
Everyone here seems so keen to be a part of the university and to put their skills and character traits out there. I can’t even say enough how amazing all of this is, and I already wish I would never have to leave again.